Father’s Day Without Father : California Families Keep Vigil for 2 Hostages

Times Staff Writer

Father’s Day presents were still neatly stacked Monday, waiting to be opened at two Southern California homes.

But the celebrations had been hijacked.

In the western San Fernando Valley community of Newbury Park, the wife and daughter of Northrop engineer Thomas Wesley Murry were waiting for the telephone to ring. In the Mission Bay area of San Diego, the daughter and sons of General Dynamics engineer Jerome Barczak listened to radio and television news reports.

Murry and Barczak were en route home last Friday on board TWA Flight 847 when it was hijacked by Shia Muslim terrorists shortly after takeoff from Athens. They are among the hostages still being held.


‘A Fine Father’

“We’ve been married 35 years,” said Jeanne Murry, who learned of the hijacking from a radio report Friday morning, an hour before she was officially informed that her husband was among the hostages. “He’s a fine father, a wonderful husband and he’s a good man. I just want him back. . . . “

Jeanne Murry and her daughter, Marianne Robertson, who arrived Sunday from Oklahoma, have spent their days and nights in vigil; television is their prime source of news on the crisis--but they remain within earshot of the telephone.

“If my father can wait in Beirut, we can wait in California,” Robertson said.


In Mission Bay, Barczak’s children did their best to keep busy.

Daughter Diane, who will graduate from Mission Bay High School today, occupied herself with preparations for the commencement exercises. Two sons went bowling.

Barczak’s former wife, Mary Ann Foglio, said she left the house for about an hour in order to shop at a nearby supermarket.

‘Following the News’


But none of the diversions did much good.

“Basically,” Foglio said, “we’re all still doing very little except following the news. . . . We’re doing really good, considering everything.”

She said that her daughter will carry yellow roses at her commencement ceremonies tonight and that the other Barczaks will wear yellow carnations as symbols of their longing for their father’s return. In addition, the high school has changed its decorations for the post-commencement party. Table centerpieces will be adorned with yellow ribbons.

Father’s Day is still waiting to be celebrated. “We’re declaring a new Father’s Day,” Foglio said, “the day when Jerome is back here, safe. . . . “